Synopsis by Josh Ralske
It's Ramadan in 1981 and Mehdi (Fouad Labied) and his mother, Amina (Nezha Rahil), have just moved to a small town in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco to live with his paternal grandfather, Ahmed (Mohammed Majd). Mehdi thinks his father is away in France, as Amina has told him, but his father is actually in prison for his involvement in a labor strike. Mehdi has a hard time making friends, but quickly becomes the teacher's (Mohamed Choubi) pet. The teacher assigns Mehdi to look after his chair, which Mehdi safeguards by carrying it around with him all day. This doesn't win him many friends among the other kids, and things only get worse when the teacher asks Mehdi to help him discipline the other students. Mehdi's mother works for the Caid, and takes Mehdi along. There, he hangs out with the Caid's rebellious teenage daughter, Malika (Meryem Massaia), who smokes cigarettes and dresses in skimpy Western outfits to the dismay of many around her. She also participates in student protests and her behavior eventually leads her into trouble. Amina and Ahmed struggle to make ends meet, while hoping for Mehdi's father to be released from prison. Meanwhile, both the teacher and Abdelhadi (Abdellah Chicha), who works for the television station, are in love with Mehdi's neighbor, Saadia (Hajar Masdouki). When a new Caid (Abdelati Lambarki) arrives in town and sets his sights on her, havoc ensues. A Thousand Months marks the feature debut of writer/director Faouzi Bensaïdi. The film was shown at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Prix Le Premier Regard and the Prix de la jeunesse. It was also selected for the 2003 New York Film Festival.